29 APRIL 1905, Page 17

The dispute between Sweden and Norway draws nearer, as we

predicted it would, to total separation. The offer of the Prince Regent to submit the terms of union between the two States to revision has been rejected, and that in a way which suggests that the Norwegians as a body utterly distrust the Swedes. The Government of Christiania has, in fact, demanded that the right of Norway to Consuls under a Norwegian Minister shall be granted before negotiations can be entered upon, but that if the negotiations fail, "each kingdom shall have the right to decide upon the future form of its n4ional existence." That is a definite threat of separation, all the more formidable because Sweden has decided that even to retain Norway she will not employ force. The whole course of the negotiations reveals two facts,—a distaste in Norway for any connection with Sweden, so strong as to blind her people to their danger from Russia ; and the absence in both States of any diplomatist of the first force. It is to be feared that the centrifugal influence which is so strong in Austria just now is strong also in Scandinavia, and will, for the time at least, prevail. It is of bad omen for Europe, where the great military Powers are hungering for the expansion of their frontiers.